Find How Accurate is “Find My iPhone.” —[Quick Ways to Improve It in 2024]

| Updated on December 21, 2023
find my iphone

How accurate is Find My iPhone? You might have asked yourself if you had ever misplaced your device. 

Find My iPhone is an advanced feature introduced by Apple Inc. on your iOS devices to help you locate them during emergencies. It keeps you posted about your device’s location via tracking notifications on iPhone, in case you have attached an AirTag on it. 

Besides this, it can be a savior when you have to turn up to a friend or family member or even when you have to pick up the device that you left in your drawing room. 

But is the Find My app accurate enough to swear by?

In the article, let’s uncover everything you need to know!   

How Accurate is Find My iPhone?

The dilemma of whether is find my accurate or not can be eliminated by knowing the right information associated with it. 

Well, the typical approximate accuracy is 7–13 feet, according to the PLOS study, which can be improved up to a 20-meter radius as well. However, the device’s signal strength and navigation method can manipulate this. 

So, how precise is find my iPhone can be? It is more reliable with a clear line of sight to the multiple GPS satellites and can impress you with its results. You can smoothly slide into the location if the device is placed close to you. In other circumstances, it uses alternative methods to assist you, such as GPS, nearby Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, giving you valuable information by narrowing the general vicinity. 

Well, you can get exact results with clear skies and strong Wi-Fi or cellular signals, whereas physical and location data receiving issues can affect its precision.

How Does “Find My iPhone” Work? 

When you ask how accurate Find My Phone is, you should consider how different tracking functionalities work together. These include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth signals, cellular towers, GPS strength, etc. Besides this, it can also depend on your phone’s battery or natural hindrances like trees, tall buildings, bad weather, etc. 

Here are some of them to consider;

  • Using Cell Towers:- It gets connected to the nearby cell phone towers in your area and measures the signal along with the distance. You can get a rough idea using this cellular triangulation. Also, the accuracy increases in areas with more cell phone towers, such as Urban areas. 
  • Using GPS:- It can be considered the best but not the only method to navigate to a destination, as the reliability of this method decreases with the increase in hindrances. These obstacles can be geographical or atmospheric. Besides this, the precision may also fluctuate every second because the satellites in the sky are continuously moving.  
  • Using Wi-Fi Mapping or Wi-Fi Triangulation:- It is considered more reliable and can be used even when you are not connected to a Wi-Fi network. As it sometimes uses GPS in conjunction with it, it is called WiFi-assisted GPS. Therefore, the Wi-Fi positioning system helps to approximate the location within 2–4 meters. 

🤔 Did you know? 
Our Wi-Fi networks are mapped and recorded. That’s why when you have to approximate your location, it is done by knowing the Wi-Fi networks that are present near your device, even if you are not connected to them. That’s why, sometimes, it is more accurate than GPS. 

Besides the above, Apple also introduced Precision Finding and Find My Network to improve Find My iPhone accuracy. It is helpful even when the device is offline or not connected to any Wi-Fi network. It relays the information to the owner anonymously, which increases the chances of navigating to the right location. 

Along with this, the newer iPhones leverage the ultra-wideband technology that helps locate more appropriately using audio and visual cues. Suppose you are confused about how accurate is find my iPhone is. Here are examples of indications of the approximate or exact location as follows:-

🔵 Blue Dot:-  It denotes the device you are using currently.

🟢 Green circle:- The precision is approximate. 

Gray Dot:- This implies that the device is trying to connect.

(** The size of the green circle is inversely proportional to the accuracy of the location; this means the smaller the circle, the more accurate the location, and vice versa. **)

In addition, when you find a gray dot, you can tap “Notify” so that you can get updated via email whenever the location becomes available. 

The accuracy varies from high, medium, or low depending upon the strength of the signal that is affected due to various factors, as discussed. 

High Accuracy Medium AccuracyLow Accuracy 
If the device is placed under the clear sky. Tracking functionalities can triangulate to the location. If the device is located indoors and has poor GPS reception.  When the device is dead or is offline.

So, this is how the feature functions and its accuracy varies according to various actors!

How to Make Find My iPhone More Accurate?

The hearts sink for a moment if an individual gets themselves to a location, and finds their device is missing. But if you are dicey about is find my iPhone always accurate, the answer to this is “NO”. But, here are some intelligent approaches you can apply to enhance Find My iPhone accuracy.  

In fact, if you have enabled iCloud on your device, it becomes easier to track it, even if it’s dead. This is because the device leaves signs at the last location to facilitate easy recovery. Hence, here are a few ways to make it work better. 

Enable Location Services 

For this, you need to make sure you have turned on your location services. 

  • Jump to the Settings App 
    Settings App
  • Scroll down and go to Privacy
    Privacy 
  • Select Location Services 
    Location services 
  • Tap the toggle to enable the Location Services (It turns 🟢 green when it is enabled.)

By using this, you can quickly jump to the location in case your device or lost. 

Enable Precise Location iPhone

To enable this in your device, follow;

  • Settings app
    Settings App
  • Navigate to Privacy
    Privacy 
  • Go to location services
    Privacy 
  • Tap to Find My
    Find My 
  • Toggle Precise Location to enable it
    Precise Location 

It will help you to identify the exact location of the device. 

Check for Updates 

To update your device to the latest iOS, follow, the instructions provided here;

  • Go to Settings 
    Settings App
  • Turn to General
    General settings 
  • Software Update 
    Software Update 
  • Hit Install (**If updates are available.**) 

It will help you eliminate bugs that might hamper your tracking activities. 

Set Auto-Update Date and Time

Well, it is not easy to believe for everyone that data and time can affect on-location services. But, it is important to keep your device updated and turn on automatic updating for the date, time, and time zone. 

Enable the Last Known Location 

If you have enabled the last location on your device, you are still able to locate it, even if your phone runs out of battery. Follow, 

  • Go to Settings apps 
    Settings App
  • Tap on your name 
    Your Name3
  • Slide to Find My 
    Find My 1
  • Hit Find My iPhone 
    Find My iPhone
  • Toggle Send Last Location
    Find My iPhone

🤔 Do you know? 
The Find My iPhone accuracy is so reliable that you can also locate all of your lost Apple items such as iPads, Macs, and even Apple watches. 

By implementing these steps, you can make your location services work more precisely for you, and you can play sound when you think that the device is near you! 

How to Set Up Find My On iPhone? 

To quickly begin setting up this feature on your device, 

  • Go to Settings app
    Settings App
  • Tap Your Name
    Your Name3
  • Go to Find My
    Find My 1
  • Turn on Share My Location
    Location services 
  • Tap to Find My iPhone & enable it.
    Find My iPhone

Setting up this feature would help you to navigate to your lost or misplaced device. However, in case it is confirmed that your device cannot be recovered, here’s what you need to follow to prevent it from being used for unlawful activities:-

  1. Remote erase option:- This is a great tool in case your device falls into the wrong hands and is unrecoverable. It can be applied to iPad, Mac, iPod, Apple Watches, etc. 
  1. Lost Mode Notification:- It will lock your device immediately after being lost, and you can show a message. “My phone has been lost.” Therefore, if anyone finds it, they will call this number.”
  1. Locked On/Off:- This is automatically activated when you enable the Find My iPhone feature. But, it can be disabled by reactivating the device or by removing the data. This requires you to enter your Apple ID and password once the lock is switched on. This will further prevent you from reactivating your device or using it later. 

This is how you can utilize this feature and take the right steps in case of emergencies!

Final Verdict 

Undoubtedly, Find My iPhone is a fantastic feature for iOS users to navigate to their devices or someone during emergencies. However, one should not completely depend on this, as it has its limitations, as it sometimes displays errors such as no location found. Besides this, some other alternative options can be picked, such as Google Find My Phone to do the same.

Also, you can choose some reliable third-party applications and mobile security services to rescue you during such exigencies. But, make sure while deciding on any alternative you properly evaluate the compatibility, reliability, and security factors of the feature. 

That’s all, hope you enjoyed reading it!

FAQs

Ans: Yes, you can locate your device using Find My Network even if it is offline or has been turned off.

Ans: Yes, you can select to track it using Find My on any other Apple device that you own. Else, you can sign in to iCloud.com/find to navigate to it. Besides this, you can also use the Google Timeline feature for the same. 

Ans: The accuracy is approximately 20 meters, but this range can vary as per the physical and location-related data-receiving issues. 

Ans: Yes, it can be wrong due to signal issues or physical hindrances.  

Ans: The blue circle does guarantee 100% accuracy, but, the smaller the circle is, the greater the precision.

Ans: The accuracy is up to a few meters, but it can vary with the obstacles present in between. 

Ans: The data breaching is a major growing concern that can be affected by using this feature. 

Sources:

Find My – Wikipedia

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